An external hard disk drive is a type of hard disk drive which is externally connected to a computer. Modern entries into the market consist of standard SATA, IDE, or SCSI hard drives in portable disk enclosures with SCSI, USB, IEEE 1394 Firewire, eSATA client interfaces to connect to the host computer.
The problem comes in when you want to make your hard drive a network component on your router and assign it with an IP address.
To do this you are going to need some kind of adapter or server.  Here are a couple of offerings.  Some things to note you may have to format your external hard drive, some support FAT but not NTFS and your mileage may vary.  So don’t jump all in before you read some reviews and thoroughly read your specs.
The Addonics NAS Adapter is a convenient and economical solution for adding any USB storage devices onto your LAN (Local Area Network). Once on the network, the USB storage can be shared by any network user, just like an ordinary NAS device. When use in conjunction with Addonics Storage Towers or Storage Racks, a Multi-Tera bytes storage with various RAID capabilities can be instantly added to the LAN.
Easily share files on the network! The D-Link Express EtherNetwork DNS-120 Network Storage Adapter connects USB drives to the network, and provides authorized users access to their files. You can connect up to two standalone USB hard drives or flash drives and instantly have access to all stored files.
Ever dreamed of running an all-encompassing network, but got discouraged by all the different wires and connections? The Belkin Network USB Hub changes all that. Now you can connect and access any USB functional device.  Printers, Digital Cameras, even network storage drives are all connected to your computer.
IOGEAR’s new palm-sized USB Net ShareStation enables an external hard drive, flash drive, memory card reader, USB webcam, USB speaker, or USB Multi-Function Printer (MFP) to be shared on a network. With the versatility afforded by the USB Share Station, users can now enjoy their favorite multimedia content stored on their computer from anywhere in their home or office. A user can attach a standard USB webcam to the USB Net ShareStation as a simple and low cost security monitoring solution for their home and/or small office use.
ShareNet by TRITTON has 4 USB 2.0 ports that can be connected to your network and includes a 4 port switch! The USB ShareNet is an innovative USB server hub. Simply plug into your network and share 4 USB ports. Make any USB printer a network printer. Make any USB hard drive Network Attached Storage with password security. USB ShareNet is also a 4 port switch allowing you to connect additional workstations.

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